There are many excellent recurve bows on the market, and it can often be hard to tell the difference between the best performing bows. Indeed, anybody buying a bow from one of the top recurve bow brands is likely to be reasonably happy with their purchase, and the most recurve bow reviews on the web are decidedly unhelpful, often offering up a list of 10 or more bows with no in depth explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of each model. After a good deal of work, we did eventually decide on one bow that we thought was the best in the market – The Martin Saber.
The Martin brand is renowned in the archery world, and the company is still owned today by its the family of the original owners. The Martin Saber is a takedown bow that is well known for its durability. It’s longer than most recurves at 64″, but this isn’t too much of an issue as it breaks down into three very portable pieces when not in use. You can find the Saber with draw weights between 30-55lbs in increments of 5lbs, so the model is suitable for beginners as well as more advanced archers. It weighs about 3.4lbs, heavier than most other recurves – we feel this helps a bit with stability whilst shooting without being overly heavy.
The Saber is very comfortable to shoot – it has a consistently smooth draw, and we experienced relatively little vibration. We like the bow for its durability, and also for its versatility – both beginners and experts seem to get good use out of the Saber. We also think it looks pretty great, which is an added bonus. The related accessories that you can buy for the Saber (as well as other Martin recurves) are also top quality, and this provides added flexibility if you want to get more functionality out of it. There are only a few minor issues that we took note of – firstly, the arrow rest and bow stringer that come packaged with the bow aren’t the best quality, but most people will end up buying these parts separately anyways. The second issue is that Martin doesn’t offer the Saber for left handed folks – which is a shame, because it means that left handers can’t pick up what we think is pretty much the best overall recurve bow on the market.
For the best beginner recurve bow, we were looking for a bow that was not only forgiving and shot well – we wanted there to be a clear path to progress and were looking for a bow that could grow along with its user. We were also looking for a reasonably long bow length – generally speaking, the longer the bow length, the easier it is for someone inexperienced to make an accurate shot. Essentially, what were were hoping to find was a bow that was very accessible – in terms of shootability, in terms of development, and in terms of price.
The bow that we ended up choosing was the very popular and highly regarded Samick Sage Takedown. The Samick Sage pretty much fulfilled all our hopes for a beginners bow and then some. It’s pretty much universally well regarded, and almost every experienced archer that we’ve come across has told us that the Sage is a great first bow for a beginner. The Sage can come with draw weights of 25-60lbs, and the bow itself weighs about 3.4lbs.
The Sage also performs really nicely – the draw is smooth as silk (well, as smooth as a recurve gets) and the vibrations are small enough that it isn’t an issue. The only potential negative of the Sage is that it does make a little sound – it’s not outright loud, but it definitely makes a little noise. Still, we figure a beginner isn’t going to be hunting with their bow early on, and a string silencer can always be attached at a later point. The Sage is also extremely versatile – you can easily replace the limbs to increase or decrease the draw weight as neccesary – this provides a clear path of progression for a beginner archer who may want to start off with a lower draw weight and work their way up.
Given the many strengths of the Sage, and in particular the accessibility the bow offers beginners, we really think it’s a great choice for anyone looking to buy their first recurve bow. The fact that the Samick Sage also has a very accessible price of under $150 made it obvious to us that the Sage should be our pick for the best beginner recurve bow.
Best Recurve Bow for the Money
This category is exactly what it sounds like – we’re looking for the best deal, the best bang for your buck, the most results for the least cost. This was tough – there are a lot of good value, inexpensive, effective recurves available. in the end, it was between the Samick Sage (reviewed above) and the Martin Jaguar. We went with the Jaguar, but mainly because we had already discussed the Sage at length – in reality we see both of these recurve bows as fantastic value for money.
The Jaguar is a standard 60″ length bow, and is available in draw weights from 30lbs to 65lbs in 5 pound increments. It weights about 2.7lbs and is suitable for both hunting (provided you have high enough draw weight) and target shooting.
We like this bow for its smooth draw and how comfortable it feels in the hand, and we particularly like the grip that it comes with. It’s somewhat lighter than the Sage which potentially makes it a better hunting bow (although the added weight gives the Sage more stability which is good for beginners). The Jaguar is essentially a really solid bow all-around with a very affordable price tag – and for this reason, it earns our designation as the best value for money recurve bow.